A lot of people are finding out that traditional marketing and advertising strategies that worked great back in the day – DON’T work any more. The fact is, customers are now in charge of the media channels they receive, AND how they receive it. They hate being pitched to or sold to. So naturally, they just tune out. There’s a fundamental difference between selling to someone and helping them. That’s where Content Marketing comes in. You really need to build the trust of your audience and share information that’s actually useful and valuable. Thought Leadership is one of the very best ways to do just that.

It’s not about preaching about your product’s features – it’s about sharing key insights and advice that your audience finds important. If you can successfully build your audience with Thought Leadership, you will position yourself and your organization as the “go-to” firm for your industry. So I present to you, my 5 Pillars of Thought Leadership Awesomeness!

#1 – Define Your Goals

Typically key goals for a successful Thought Leadership campaign are to:

  • Create brand awareness
  • Educate
  • Solve problems
  • Build trust for the long-term

Maybe you have a new product line that you’re launching that is a response to a need in the market but your target market doesn’t really know too much about they need, or maybe they don’t really know who you are. Your goal is to educate your audience on the current challenges and how to overcome them by empowering them with actionable knowledge that they can put to use today – without even buying your product or service.

#2 – Define Your Audience

It’s kind of like fishing: you have to know the kind of fish you are fishing for so that you can use the right bait. The wrong bait will attract the wrong type of fish. It’s the same concept. Focus on a specific target market so that you can identify their challenges and concerns. Discover what insights you have that they will find irresistible to the point that it’s a no-brainer that they want to subscribe to your newsletter or blog because they are learning so much from you.

#3 – Build Your Online Presence

Basically, that means you need to be where your audience is – and that is online. Utilize your website, blog, newsletter and social media channels. If you don’t have a LinkedIn business profile page, get one. No Facebook fan page for business? Start one. Subscribe to industry blogs, forums, Facebook pages, and groups. When it comes to social media, there are a million and a half social networks!.. Okay, maybe not THAT many, but there’s a bunch. So my recommendation is to focus on the ones where your audience is.

Back to the fishing analogy. Different lakes have different fish, so spend time on the lakes that have the fish you are looking for. If your industry as a whole is a big LinkedIn and Facebook user, be on those platforms and forget the rest. There’s really no need to tweet to a blank wall. Here’s a list of web channels that you must consider:

  • Website
  • Blogs
  • Vlogs
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest

#4 – Book Speaking Engagements

The goal is to get yourself, your organization, and your message out there in the public eye. Start signing up to give presentations that are related to your industry. Something magical happens when you’re given a microphone and a projector. Everyone in the room listens to you – provided that your message is relevant and intriguing. The more that you are able to do this, you will be on a fast-track to building an expansive Thought Leadership empire. This exposure will build your audience, especially online. If you can videotape these engagements – that’s extra content that you can use on social media, website and blogs! Which leads me to my final point.

#5 – Content is King!

Thought Leadership is useless without quality content. You have to produce QUALITY CONTENT that connects your brand to your prospects, builds trust, and educates. In short, quality content is highly relevant, and for a quality experience, it needs to be fresh and continuous. I like my content how I like my bread: hot and fresh from a brick oven, not cold and stale. Stale, inconsistent content won’t attract viewers, so it is imperative that you keep serving hot and fresh content on a regular basis.

So there you have it, my 5 Pillars of Thought Leadership awesomeness. Take it, run with it, start your own Thought Leadership series and dominate your industry. If you’ve got a Thought Leadership series already, share it with us in the comment section.

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